dogs-and-cats

Tenants and Their Pets
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dogs-and-catsOne of the things that may surprise you about your Chico tenants is that they will not tell you everything. They may not tell you when something in their apartment breaks or stops working. Tenants may also bring in roommates that you do not know about. Finally, tenants may not tell you that they own a pet.

Pets on the Property

Let’s face facts: You probably scared your new tenant right at the beginning of your landlord/tenant relationship into hiding the fact that he owns a dog and will be bringing it with him when he moves into your Chico apartment complex or property. You most likely require a higher security deposit for pet owners because pets can cause costly repairs and maintenance.

It is your right as a property owner to mitigate your risk of costly repairs that arise from pets.

If a tenant hides the fact that he has a pet and you later find out (and you always do), you have every right to terminate the rental agreement because the tenant breached the contract (by not telling you about his pet). Evictions, however, are costly proceedings and you will want to avoid them as much as possible.

If you find that a tenant has brought in a pet, you can certainly approach him and collect a bigger security deposit. You can also write up a new lease with the newly-discovered pet issue contained therein. In short, you always want to minimize the risk of expensive repairs and maintenance.

Protect Your Investment

Pets can cause a lot of damage. Everything from ripped draperies to soiled carpets to chewed doors and door frames can be attributed to out-of-control pets. It is better for both the tenant and landlord to address these potential pitfalls from the beginning. If you aren’t diligent about matters of this nature, you will find that managing your property will be more difficult than it needs to be.

Removing carpet stains of urine from a pet or multiple pets can be extremely expensive.  Often, entire carpets must be ripped out and replaced before a new tenant can occupy a rental unit.

Between tenancies is when you will most likely discover that your former tenant had a pet that he did not disclose to you.  At this point, obviously, you cannot terminate the rental agreement and must turn to the security deposit to recoup some of your expenses for repairs.

Higher Security Deposits for Pets

A higher security deposit for pets allows you to cover all extra cleaning and repairs necessitated by virtue of the tenant owning a pet or in the event he is keeping it on the premises without your knowledge. You may find, however, that the security deposit will not cover all of the necessary repairs. This is why it is vitally important to find out whether your tenants have pets before they move in.

Of course, if your new tenant fails to tell you about his 100 gallon fish tank and you find out later that the tank broke and flooded not only his apartment but the apartment downstairs, too, you will be faced with expensive and extensive damages.

Of course, if you had known about the aquarium, you could have not only collected a higher security deposit but you could have required that the tenant purchase rental insurance, which likely would have covered any necessary repairs.

As you can see, pets present unique challenges to landlords and property managers. Always be on the lookout for violations of your pet policy, as finding out sooner—rather than later—is always preferable and is often far less costly.

At the end of the day, studies show that you will make more renting to tenants with pets, than without, but just make sure you do it cautiously.